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Police chief takes helm at fire department

April 21, 2010
BELMONT — In a move that selectmen called "slightly unorthodox," Belmont Police Chief Vinnie Baiocchetti was named interim fire chief Monday, retro-effective to Fire Chief Jim Davis's retirement on April 16.

Selectmen Chair Ron Cormier said at the board's meeting Monday that the selectmen are in the midst of a search for a new fire chief and that it may be a few more weeks or months before they find a suitable replacement for Davis. In the meantime, the board decided to appoint Baiocchetti as interim fire chief.

Cormier said the decision was "slightly unorthodox" but that the board has "some reasons" for doing so. One is that the board has long considered forming an "umbrella" of safety services that would include fire and police. He said having Baiocchetti at the helm for a while is a good opportunity to try that model out.

Firefighter Tom Murphy, who introduced himself only as a resident and taxpayer, asked what Baiocchetti's duties will be within the Fire Department.

"The intent is that it's going to be primarily administrative in duty," Cormier said, adding that they plan to let Baiocchetti lay the groundwork.

Cormier also said that Deputy Fire Chief Sean McCarty will be the "go-to" guy for the firefighters, and that he didn't anticipate any significant changes with Baiocchetti as interim chief.

Baiocchetti declined to comment, saying he didn't want to say anything publicly until he had talked to the board in non-public session after the public meeting.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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